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Late during hurricane Harvey I noticed our side street fencing at our double gate had started leaning toward the street.

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My husband thinks we should drive a wedge on the outside of the post closest to the gate to push it in toward upright. I am concerned that doing so only causes the hole that the post is in to widen, exacerbating the problem.

My temporary fix would be to drive a metal fence post to the inside and tie it to the post, stabilizing the wood. Then attaching bolts to the gates and affixing another metal fence post to the gates to hold them together, also forcing them inward.

Which would work?

If not either, then what can we do short of replacing the whole thing right now?

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    I'd expect either would work. The wedge is simplest IMHO. To make it more permanent, I'd dump some fairly dry cement mix in the gaps left once you get the post(s) plumb. You could even dump straight powder into the hole and moisture from the ground would cause it to eventually cure. Apparently cement was not used for the posts in the first place, which is why it is doing this now. – topshot Sep 5 '17 at 16:31
  • The metal stake idea would look hideous and probably wouldn't achieve the results you expect. Being very thin, they'll easily shift in the soft, wet soil. – isherwood Sep 5 '17 at 19:34
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The wedge is fine and will stop the post moving which would definitely worsen the hole. As long as the post is solid, the size of the hole doesn't really matter, only that there are no gaps between the post and the surrounding ground. Whether the gap is filled with concrete, stones or a wedge isn't that critical.

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    It's important to note that the wedge will not straighten up the fence. You need to do that first, using other means, and install the wedge or concrete to maintain position. – isherwood Sep 5 '17 at 19:25
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Given that the soil is likely still saturated (and therefore unstable), I'd do the repair in two stages. It's particularly important to improve post stability at your gate, which imparts substantial force on the soil.

First, you need to get the fence upright. Use muscle or ratchets to pull it into position. Ropes or straps attached to rigid anchor points (trees, large stakes) will help hold position once you do so. I'd now wait until the soil is adequately drained to provide a solid base for your posts.

Then, I'd be digging proper holes for concrete on the sides of the posts. A narrow shovel will let you dig out about 4" all the way around each post. Don't go past the bottom of the post. You want to maintain post height and prevent creation of a water pocket in the concrete that can hasten rot.

Pour concrete mix into the holes a few inches at a time and moisten it, chopping it up to distribute water. You want a fairly dry but fully moist mix. Fill to about 2 inches below sod level so you can replant over the top.

Maintain the rope bracing for two days or more, especially if you have wind in the forecast. Green concrete is very soft and will easily crack apart.

If you're opposed to the time and expense of concrete work, Drive large wedges into the gaps. They should be cut from treated 2x4 or 4x4 and be the full width of the post. If another storm occurs, though, don't expect this solution to do well.

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